At almost $2000, the Samsung Galaxy Fold is just about the most expensive phone ever made. But is it actually worth getting?
Innovation is one thing. But when you’re charging ultra-laptop money for a phone, eyebrows are going to be raised. And that is just what happened when Samsung announced and released its Galaxy Fold phone, the world’s first truly foldable smartphone. Interestingly, Samsung says it has sold around 400,000 to 500,000 units of the Galaxy Fold since launch; this was confirmed by DJ Koh at CES 2020.
“I think we’ve sold 400,000 to 500,000 Galaxy Fold smartphones,” Koh Dong-jin, president and CEO of Samsung’s IT & Mobile Communication Division, told reporters at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 in Las Vegas.
Compared to Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy S10 sales, half a million units isn’t exactly impressive. However, this phone is a completely new concept; it folds up and turns from a normal phone into a pseudo-tablet, offering you, essentially, two devices in one: a phone and a mini-tablet. You also get 512GB of storage. But is everything as it seems? Is the Samsung Galaxy Fold worth it? Or are you better off getting the Galaxy S20 for around 50% less?
Is The Galaxy Fold Actually Worth It Though?
The question of whether Samsung’s Galaxy Fold is worth it is a tricky one to answer. For 99% of people, $2000 for a phone is just stupid; no one would go out and buy this phone on a whim. Rather, the only people that will be buying this phone are die-hard tech fans and cash/credit-flush early adopters. I’m a tech journalist and I wouldn’t buy it.
Why? It’s a first-gen device. And first-gen devices are always a bit wonky; think about the first iPad compared to the third-generation iPad, or the first Apple Watch compared to the Apple Watch Series 3. The first device is always just a “proof of concept” – a means of testing out the form factor in the wild. Things like bugs and hardware issues are ALWAYS common in the first generation of a new device.
For this reason, I would not recommend you go out and get the Galaxy Fold; if you want a foldable phone, just wait 18 months or so for the first second-generation devices to start hitting the market. By this point, app developers will have created proper solutions for displaying their content on foldable displays, the initial hardware bugs will have been ironed out, and, who knows, the second-generation unit might even be a little cheaper as component costs come down.
Common Samsung Galaxy Fold Issues
- Hardware Problems – Multiple reports have shown that the Galaxy Fold’s display is very fragile. Users are reporting damaged displays in multiple regions, so this is something that needs to be addressed with the Galaxy Fold 2. If you’re paying $2000 for a phone, you don’t want the display breaking after less than a week of usage…
- Screen Black-Outs/Flickering – Another screen-related issue for the Galaxy Fold relates to problems with the actual display itself. According to reports, some users have experienced flickering displays and, in some cases, total blackouts. Again, not good…
- Apps Not Working Correctly – Because of the Galaxy Fold’s display some applications (meaning quite a few) aren’t designed or optimized to work on foldable displays. This is one of the easier issues to solve, but it’ll require app developers to update their applications for foldable displays. Google is making this easier. But it will still take time.
Samsung Galaxy Fold Reviews
Samsung Galaxy Fold Price – Best Place To Get It?
If you’re sold on the concept and don’t mind paying $2000/£2000 for a phone, the #1 best place to pick up a Galaxy Fold is direct from Samsung – it does finance deals that start from $79.17/£79.17 a month, spreading the cost of the phone over 12-24 months.
Or, you can simply bang it on your credit card. Either way, two-large for a phone is going to be prohibitive for most users (including myself). Still, if you’re a die-hard early adopter and have to have the latest and greatest tech, at least you have the option of spreading the cost over a couple of years.
Samsung Galaxy Fold Specs
- CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
- Memory: 12GB
- Storage: 512GB
- MicroSD storage: None
- Screen size: 4.6 inches (folded), 7.3 inches (unfolded)
- Resolution: 1680 x 720 (folded), 2152 x 1536 (unfolded)
- Connectivity: USB-C, Bluetooth 5.0
- Battery: 4,380mAh (LTE model), 4,235mAh (5G model)
- Size: 160.9 x 62.9 x 17 mm (folded), 160.9 x 117.9 x 7.5 mm (unfolded)
- Weight: 263g (9.28oz)
- Operating system: Android 9.0 Pie
As you can see, you’re getting very impressive specs for your money. But make no mistake, the cost of this phone is ALL about the design – you’re paying to help Samsung write-off years of R&D cost. Remember: this phone has been in development since about 2012.
And it hasn’t been a smooth ride, bringing the Samsung Galaxy Fold to market. Samsung had numerous issues with the first batch of pre-release test units, for instance, though these “issues” have now been fixed. Still, this phone is a new concept, so there is always a chance of new gremlins appearing as more and more people start using the phone.
You Can Fold The Galaxy Fold 200,000 Times
Ever since Samsung lifted the lid on the Galaxy Fold, there have been doubts about the durability of the handset’s fancy bending OLED screen. Surely a screen that has to be folded and unfolded several times a day is going to deform over time? Then came the reports that Galaxy Fold units were experiencing issues with – you guessed it – the display, with creases appearing in double-quick time. Oops.
Samsung is facing these reports head-on with a video that shows just how vigorously the company is testing the screen on the Galaxy Fold. In the clip, a selection of Fold phones is shown attached to robotic folding machines which – over the course of a week – fold the screen a whopping 200,000 times.
According to Samsung, these “extensive tests in its state-of-the-art reliability labs” are designed to “make sure that the Galaxy Fold is ready to come to market.” In short, the South Korean firm is taking no chances with its upcoming game-changing handset.
“Naturally, given the smartphone’s design, a Folding Test was a pivotal part of the Galaxy Fold’s durability assessment,” adds Samsung’s PR. “This test, which examines whether the Galaxy Fold can outlast 200,000 folds and unfolds (or around five years of use, if used 100 times a day), takes a full week to complete. While the extent of the test may seem like overkill to some, Samsung viewed it as vital to ensuring the durability of the device’s hinged design and Infinity Flex Display.”
The message is clear; don’t believe the naysayers, ‘crease-gate’ is being overblown. Of course, this could also be carefully-orchestrated PR spin; a neatly-planned (but highly controlled) spectacle designed to assure consumers that their £2,000 won’t be spent on a device that develops an unsightly defect after a few months of use.
We wonder if Huawei, Xiaomi and all of the other handset makers about to launch into the folding phone market will be as dedicated to ensuring their phones remain in tip-top condition…
How Samsung Fixed The Galaxy Fold’s Problems…
The Korean firm has stated that it has undertaken a series of “improvements” to prevent the issues experienced by journalists who received review units months ago. These issues ranged from broken screens to pieces of debris getting inside the folding mechanism. Many removed the protective layer which sits on the top of the display, thinking it was simply a factory-fitted screen protector – when in fact, it is integral to the design of the phone.
As a result, Samsung delayed the release of the Galaxy Fold and even canceled pre-orders. That was way back in April, which gives you an indication of how dramatic this delay has been for the company – a company that was hoping the Galaxy Fold would be a shot in the arm for 2019’s commercial fortunes.
The changes made by Samsung to the Galaxy Fold are as follows:
- The top protective layer of the Infinity Flex Display has been extended beyond the bezel, making it apparent that it is an integral part of the display structure and not meant to be removed.
- Galaxy Fold features additional reinforcements to better protect the device from external particles while maintaining its signature foldable experience.
- The top and bottom of the hinge area have been strengthened with newly added protection caps. Additional metal layers underneath the Infinity Flex Display have been included to reinforce the protection of the display. The space between the hinge and body of Galaxy Fold has been reduced.
Samsung has also been “optimizing more apps and services for its unique foldable UX” which could go some way to addressing complaints reviewers had over the fact that the phone’s software did little to truly exploit that massive folding display.
Interested in picking up the Galaxy Fold? Check out all the latest deals and finance offers inside Samsung’s official store.
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.